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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Marina Shafran
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Soviet Holocaust Survivors: An Ethnographic Study
Dr. Eric M. Sauer, Chair
Dr. Mary Z. Anderson
Dr. Mary D. Lagerwey
Date: Thursday, April 21, 2011 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
2211 Sangren Hall
The purpose of the current study is to help understand the lives, worldview, and meaning making of Soviet Holocaust survivors currently residing in the United States. Ethnographic interviews were conducted to explore survivor’s childhood, family life, religion, political views, work, and social life. These areas were examined during the following time periods: pre-WWII, during WWII, and post-WWII.
From the collected and analyzed data, I was able to offer an insight into the experiences of five Soviet Holocaust survivors under the Soviet regime. I described the struggles that the survivors experienced during the Holocaust, the losses they had suffered, and the Nazi atrocities they had experienced during the war. Moreover, I attempted to offer a unique account of their lives under the Soviet regime and the anti-Semitic discrimination it imposed. I shared survivor’s detailed accounts of anti-Semitism at school, work, and daily life. I offered an understanding of what it means to be a survivor in a country that failed to acknowledge the mass murder of its own citizens. I offered some understanding of what it means to be a Soviet Jewish survivor and to have an identity shaped by compounded trauma and anti-Semitism. Implications are discussed within the context of Holocaust research, and future research is suggested.